Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It has felt so good to get back in to a riding routine! I actually expected it would be a little bit harder than it has been. It definitely helps that Benny is awesome and I look forward to riding him.

He was really good tonight. I've started introducing him to leg yielding down the wall (facing it). Last night he gave me a few of the best steps he has given me. Tonight the whole thing was way easier, like he was really getting what I was asking him to do. His trot to canter transitions are getting much more prompt and reliable. His canter is where he needs the most work. He really canters with his haunches in, particularly to the right. Tonight as we cantered down the long side I thought about getting him in more of a shoulder-fore position and voilá...a relatively straight cantering horse. It was nice! It's definitely in there, it's just going to take more practice and strength.

And really...what's not to like about that face!?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Stolen the Show

Just in case you thought that Benny had stolen the show...never fear, Roz and Emi are doing great.

Emi had a mild case of hives in the last couple of weeks but they are much better now. She's mainly just been hanging out, but I do have a field trip planned for her in November. It's hard to believe she's almost been home for a year!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tickled Pink

Please vote for us in the Ponies in Pink contest!

Benny has continued his winning ways and I'm very pleased with him. He's catching on to my different style of riding and he's really enjoyable. We have so much to work on that I have to contain myself so that I don't over do it. That's not helpful for anyone! He had his first spook yesterday; it was just one little scoot forward. That's my kind of horse. It's been so awesome to get back into a regular riding routine.

Besides just getting to know him and feeling him out, we've been working on him being on the bit and willing to stretch. We are doing lots of work on transitions and introducing leg yields. He's already showing improvement and likes to stretch! His trot, canter, trot transitions are getting better. He was more accustomed to doing walk to canter and canter to walk so the first few down transitions we did he slammed on the brakes. Now he's giving me a nice transition to the trot. Trot to walk is also a work in progress (for the same reason). I've got to keep him going actively into the walk. I've also been throwing in some lunging in side reins. He's doing really well with that and it has been a good spot to practice those transitions. Hopefully I will get some riding video soon!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Canby Tack Sale

Saturday morning I got up bright and early to head to the Canby Tack Sale. For those not in the area this is a huge 4-H tack sale where people or groups can purchase a booth to sell stuff. It's really big and took me over an hour and half to browse through it, and I didn't even look at everything! I had a list of some stuff I wanted to find for Benny. I didn't have a lot of success on my first pass. Part of the problem was that it was so crowded it was difficult to even get close enough in a booth to see if you wanted anything. 

On my second pass I finally found some of what I was looking for. I got a used Bobby's English Tack bridle for $25. 
Bridle with my browband and my reins
Next I found a high necked cooler for $15. I couldn't find a size on it by the seller told me it was "about" a 78. I tried it on this afternoon and it's a perfect fit! 

The last thing I found was a pair of composite stirrups. I've been wanting to try them and when I found a pair for $7 I couldn't resist. I've only ridden in them once but I like them so far. It's nice that they make my saddle a bit lighter. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Puttin' on the Pink

I had been posting about some of the things that kept me so busy the first week that I had Benny. One of my commitments was participating as a model for "Puttin' on the Pink." This is a style show of cancer survivors that is put on as a fundraiser for a Project HER (Help, Enlightenment, Resources). If you have been reading along for any length of time you know I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago, when I was 24. The big style show was last Saturday and it was a lot of fun. When I first agreed to be in this years event they told us they wanted it to be the most fun we had had since being diagnosed. It was a neat experience and I really really enjoyed meeting and getting to know the other survivors that were involved. There were so many awesome people and so much joy.

To go along with that, Racing to Ride is hosting a "ponies in pink" contest. With that in mind I dressed Benny up this afternoon and we took some photos. Some breast cancer survivors are bothered by "Pinktober." Let's face, there's nothing fluffy and pink about having cancer or going through treatments. At the same time, I really don't have a problem with something that brings increased awareness and research dollars to finding a real cure for cancer. Through my style show event I met a lady who has metastatic breast caner. She was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer 7 years ago and then earlier this year she discovered that it had metastasized. According to an article she shared, 3 out of 10 women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will progress to metastatic breast cancer. How uncool is that!? 

I could use your help in picking which photo to submit. 



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Settling In

Benny continues to settle in well. He's now going out in the gelding pasture and I think he has blended in to the herd pretty easily. He seems to be staying out of the way and he's fairly low in the pecking order. Last night I gave him a sport horse mane and I really like his new look. It's amazing how a change in hair can make a difference for the overall look. 

Tomorrow he gets his hooves trimmed and then Saturday I'm heading to a big tack sale in the area. I'm keeping an eye out for a smaller bridle, a size 76 rain sheet & cooler, along with side reins and maybe hoof boots (if Roz's don't fit). I'm going to try Roz's boots on him tomorrow after he gets trimmed. Right now his feet are huge since they are overgrown. I can't wait to see how they will look all cleaned up. 
The view from my ride tonight
Foamy mouth when we got done

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Mostly "wordless" anyway...this also happened while I was too busy to blog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HGBH What's in a Name

I couldn't resist joining in on this blog hop hosted by Hand Gallop. I find horse names so interesting! Part of my job includes seeing names of various horses. It's amazing how many times you can guess a horses breed just based on it's name.

What's the origin of your horse's show name and barn name?

Rozzy Ridge
Registered Thoroughbred
Slewdledo x Compagnie

I really have no idea how Roz's breeder came up with Rozzy Ridge but it is his Jockey Club name. I love it and that's what he was shown under. I usually just call him Roz although sometimes he's Rozzy, Rozzy Ridgems or Handsome Boy. One time he was at the vet and they asked where "Rozzy Ridge" was located, thinking it was an actual place. 

Winterlake Emerald
Registered Welsh Cob
North Forks Cardi x Stagecoach Chloe

I actually (sort of) got to name Emi. Her name automatically included "Winterlake" as that is her breeders prefix. Her breeder also names them alphabetically with each foal moving down the list. The foal born prior to Emi was Winterlake Drita and the one after is Winterlake Fabiano. We threw around lots of name ideas; Winterlake Evangelina, Winterlake Eleanor, Winterlake Elegance etc. Ultimately I came down to Winterlake Elegance or Winterlake Emerald and planned to use Ellie or Emi as a barn name. I decided I liked Emi better for a barn name and chose to go with Emerald. Part of the reason I liked Emerald was as a reference to Ireland as the "Emerald Isle." My grandparents on my dad's side immigrated from there and last year my whole family got to take a trip there. As far as nick names I call her Baby Cakes, Baby Girl, Baby Pony or Stinker Pony most often (when I'm not just calling her Emi). 

Ben Big N Rich
Registered Half Arab
HH Ben Muscat x Oregon Bar Bux

Benny's dad's name includes Ben so I assume that's where that part of it came from. I'm not sure about the rest. He was actually being called Cooper and although I like that name well enough, the barn owner at NDF has a dog named Cooper. I originally thought I'd just go ahead and call him Ben but I opted to use Benny instead. He hasn't been around long enough to have gained any other names. If I show him it will be under his registered name. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Rain is Coming

You may be wondering what in the world I've been up to if I have been too busy to ride and to blog. I've been working hard to winterize Roz and Emi's paddock as the rain is scheduled to roll in tonight. Last year we used hog fuel to reduce the mud but I wasn't that thrilled with it. My main issue with it was the number of slivers I'd pick up while grooming the horses. This year I'm trying something new,  cedar wood chips.  I got a pick-up load of each day on my lunch hour and then spent some time in the evening unloading them so that I'd be ready to go the next day. I don't have a picture of the finished product but I'm looking forward to seeing how well they hold up over the winter.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Then There Were Three....

I welcomed pony number three last week, and then I've been too busy to blog about him (or ride him)! Meet Ben Big N Rich aka Benny. 

He's a 7 year old Arabian/Quarter Horse. Historically I have not been a big Arabian fan but I'm being slowly won over. I think Benny is a really nice blend of Arab & QH. He's done a little of this and a little of that, along with having some down time here and there while his previous owner was pregnant. He's got a really nice walk and a huge trot, with his canter needing the most work. So far he has been super sensible and has settled in to the new barn well. I rode him for the first time (at home) this afternoon and he was great. It's so nice to have a riding horse again. Yah! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Review - Harwich Soft Leather Half Chaps

I normally ride in my tall boots but a couple months ago the zipper broke on one of them. Since then I've been riding in my old Riding Sport Suede Half Chaps from Dover. I've had them a long time and for the price I paid they held up for a long time! They were starting to come un-stitched at one spot and were also a little bit big for me. I had been eye balling the Harwich Soft Leather Half Chaps by Smartpak. A couple of my friends have them and both have been really happy with them.

Smartpak had a one day 20% off sale and I decided that was a good opportunity to replace my old ones.  I measured my leg and I was squarely between sizes. Since my previous half chaps were on the big side, and I know these will stretch I ordered a size down (medium tall). Out of the box I couldn't get them on and I was totally bummed. I was also in a hurry so I didn't really try that hard. Later that same day I looked them over again and saw that they had a nice big stretchy panel in them. After seeing that I attempted to put them on again. With a little work I got both of them on and actually liked the snug feeling.

I have ridden in them 3 times and so far I really like them. They are super soft and don't require any break-in (besides a little bit of stretching). The zipper seems very durable and they have snaps on the top and bottom. I think they will be an excellent alternative to always wearing my tall boots and/or as a back up when my tall boots are out of commission. I will have to report back after I've used them longer to let you know how they hold up.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spirit of Survivorship

This time two year ago, I was preparing to have a mastectomy. I'm not actually sure how you prepare for something like that. Nevertheless, I had surgery on October 2nd, 2012. Today I had the pleasure of attending Puttin' on the Pink, a breast cancer education day. The first speaker was an oncologist, who has MS and is also a breast cancer survivor. She spoke on the "spirit of survivorship." She came up with 5 characteristics that survivors have (and this includes survivors of other life altering events). The 5 traits were courage, empathy, perspective, adaptability, and humor.

1) Courage - Although some people may argue that the are not courageous, she said to become survivors we had to have courage to face surgeries, treatments etc., even when we are scared or dreading what we are facing.

2) Empathy- After experiencing such a painful time we are much more able to empathize with others who are going through a difficult time. I can definitely agree that I am more compassionate than I used to be and can more easily understand someone else's pain.

3) Perspective - Let me tell you, facing your own mortality gives you a healthy dose of perspective really quickly. There are so many things that we allow to "ruin" our day when most of it is stuff that really doesn't matter once it's put in to perspective.

4) Adaptability - Normally we have an idea of how we expect our lives to go. We will graduate from high school, go to a certain college, get a degree in ______________, find a job doing _____________, etc. Facing a cancer diagnosis requires you to put your life plans aside, or maybe just modify them as you change course.

5) Humor - The speaker had been told if you can't find things to laugh about every day you aren't looking hard enough. I think that's so true and a sense of humor can get you through a lot!

Later in the day my mom and I were talking with the speaker and I was telling her how I really related with the characteristics that she had spoken about. During the course of our conversation she told us that she has a job offer to come work in our town! My first oncologist left earlier this year and I was really sad to see her go. I told the speaker what a great town we live in, hoping to convince her to accept the job offer. We'll see. :)

The actual key note speaker did a presentation on healthy eating. The main take away from her presentation was that our diet can have a lot to do with cancer prevention. She compared it to smoking and how most everyone would say that smoking increases your risk of cancer. Our diet is the same way. She compared sets of data on people in the U.S. having the highest occurrence of several different kinds of cancer. She specifically compared the U.S. rate to the rate in China. The incidents of cancer are way way lower over there. Although you might want to make the argument that genetics plays a big role in that, it's not the case. If these people come to the U.S. and are here for more than 5 years their rates go way up!

She brought up several key things that have quite a bit of science behind them.

- The American diet is very unbalanced. We should be getting 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day but the actual average is much lower than that. A serving is about 1/2 cup.
- We should be eating a lot more cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage. One tip she had for broccoli was to eat broccoli sprouts.
- Green tea is something that a lot of Asian countries drink a lot of but Americans don't drink much at all. It goes through less processing than black tea and contains cancer fighting compounds. These compounds are easily broken down by light so she said it's best if it has been freshly brewed. The green tea you buy at the store is pretty much just sugar water.
- Barbecuing meat, specifically when it gets chard creates a lot of carcinogens and is something to be careful of. Marinating your meat prior to cooking it significantly reduces the level of carcinogens.

Finally, I attended a session teaching you how to do self breast exams. This is my yearly reminder to all of you reading your self breast exams! Early detection truly does save lives and makes your treatment that much easier.

(A side note: we ran in to an acquaintance of my mom's who had been getting a treatment for metastatic breast canter while I was getting one of my rounds of chemo.  It was neat to see her still doing well....and she was concerned with how I'm doing. )